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Rebels with a cause: How to keep a big tent while staying on message

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Rebels with a cause How to keep a big tent while staying on message

The last presidential election’s recriminations require no reminders… primarily because they have lasted through the entire 2017, and are not yet finished.  The battle between NeverTrumpers, AlwaysTrumpers, SometimesTrumpers (which is, basically, everyone else) continues to generate dozens of articles and endless flame wars. Now, fighting over philosophical differences may seem like a tremendous, YUGE waste of time. However, all involved seem to be more committed to proving themselves right than to unifying the party or the conservative moment around any consistent set of principles that would help avoid factionalism now and in the future. NeverTrumpers claim that President Trump’s personality, character, and various actions before and after elections make him completely unacceptable in their view, and the worst of his supporters have taken over and ruined the party.

AlwaysTrumpers claim “my party, right or wrong”, and give, as a counterexample, the left, which is even more committed to destroying its common enemy than to eating each other, and somehow always stays on the party line message, which keeps them winning ideological influence, and often, elections as well. SometimesTrumpers believe in supporting the president when he does something they agree with, and critiquing when he doesn’t, without essentially losing their minds. There are varying degrees of intensity to each of these groups. However, many NTs, as well as ATs, cannot seem to live with the idea that there may be a very significant group of Republicans and conservatives who are not fully committed to a position more based in supporting a particular personality against the attacks by the left than in holding consistent political positions based in their understanding of what is good for the country.

STs, by and large, are viewed as unprincipled for being, apparently, neither here nor there. Understanding each of these positions is important, because as of this moment, everyone seems to be firmly rooted in his own view, with no possibility of budging anywhere.  Now, some ATs are coming out with claims that all NTs are really Democrats, and should be defriended, isolated, and ignored. NTs, on the other side, deride anyone who doesn’t spend all day criticizing Trump or who has publicly agreed with him on anything, as a weak Trump enabler. Some of the more “liberal” NTs will tolerate the STs, but still try to have them move to the NTs sides with vociferous criticism of Trumpian excesses. Ironically, all this time, actual hardcore progressive ideologues are laughing like hyenas as the party and assorted shades of conservatives are tearing each other up, over what is more a matter of ego than any real principles on anyone’s account.

Meanwhile, the Republican party is shrinking, conservatism is not growing, and not much is getting done.

So how to resolve this seemingly impossible dilemma: to be welcoming to diversity of views, while also developing a coherent and consistent message that can move the party mostly in the same direction… no matter who is at the helm?

Now, this is where conservatism and Republican party may hold entirely different answers.

Republican party is a political vehicle, currently best suited for conservatism to win elections. It is not, however, in itself an expression of conservatism or conservative values, and for that reason, there will always be an inherent battle of ideas within the party. The President is the party leader. It should ultimately be up to him to define the message of the party, as well as its direction.  What if the president is not conservative? Well, then, it is likely that the party will likely not be expressing conservative values either, unless, of course, a cadre of particularly active conservatives manage to convince the president otherwise. But that always works both ways. President Reagan was not always surrounded by stalwart conservatives, and yet the Reagan Revolution still remains a standard for a successful wave of conservatism, that swept the country.  President George W. Bush by all accounts was more conservative than most of his advisers, who eventually ended up prevailing on a number of important decisions, much to the disillusionment of many hardcore conservatives.

The party, at the end of the day is what the people most active within it, make it to be. It is not particularly productive, then, to think about the direction of the party as a whole, particularly when the president is not particularly ideological. Under such circumstances, it’s worth focusing on winning individual battles and taking it one day at a time. Focus on prevailing in particular instances win minimize the likelihood of creating more internal enemies than is absolutely necessary.  Both NeverTrumpers and AlwaysTrumpers should remember that the president, after his time in office, will cede his way to future, and yet unknown candidate, which means that we pretty much have to start all over again.

And it’s much easier to win those elections with a bigger party and a bigger tent than a smaller tent. It may FEEL better to cut loose all the haters and the losers, as well as all the suckers, the traitors, the RINOs, the fauxservatives, the alt-righters, and the sell-outs… except in 3 or 7 years, we’ll all need each other to fight another battle.  So why alienate and freeze out potential voters, who may yet change their minds on any number of issues for any number of reasons? We may not think we ever want to ever hear from these people again, much less use them for anything, but life is long, and that is something that is impossible to know from the current vantage point. So first things first: don’t destroy friendships over politics. Best unfollow the posts on social media until you can get a grip, and then rekindle those relationships when you inevitably realize that if there is anything more important than whom your former voted for in the last election is whom he is going to vote for in the next.

But what if what if those RINOs/alt righters are playing right into the hands of the left-wing enemy? Trust me, there is no one playing into the hands of the left more than you do if you cut them off completely. Human beings have free will, which means changing their minds, and being wrong, frequently and hopelessly. Unless you think that the apparatus of the authoritarian one-party systems served them well, all you can do is be persuasive and offer them something more within the party than outside of it – the ability be active and to persuade. Essentially, while the song “Stuck in the middle with you…:” may seem particularly ironic, the reality is that the only way to win is by finding a way for your ideas to prevail. You can’t force or scare people into compliance without either the party deteriorating into cultish groupthink that prevents fresh ideas and creative solution to political and ideological problems, eventually killing it before any progressive forces ever get to it, or without causing resentment, rebellions, and endless frictions. We see both right now.

As for conservatives are concerned, the beautiful thing is that not one person needs any apparatchiks to define the “message” for him. The message comes from the deeply held values, and the better we are equipped we are to understand and defend them, the more likely our ideas are to prevail and to help define that message. If most people call themselves conservatives, but are not even familiar with the basics, there will always be no shortage of con artists ready to hijack the messaging platforms and to stiff the entire movement with something grotesque and unpalatable.  Last year’s election clearly demonstrates that conservatism needs a revival in more than just numbers. There are two distinct issues that need discussion, understanding, and refinement:

The first: what is the state of conservatism as an attitude and a philosophy right now? It is only once we determine what themes are most prevalent that we can properly measure success, quantify and qualify it.

The second: what should it be? What principles can we draw from the great classics encompassing the bedrocks of the founding philosophy and how can we properly translate it into modernity, while avoiding past missteps?

Whatever our educational and outreach efforts, we should seek to expose our audiences to a broad array of thinking and determine where they stand for themselves. Abstract values and elections overlap but ultimately the goal of a value system is to provide guidance for selecting people who are most likely to defend those values, as well as to promote priority issues. Ultimately, conservatism, and any other paradigm, serve a greater purpose than merely a lodestar for dealing with imperfect human beings under pressure to gather as many votes as possible in high pressure environment where all sorts of other factors that have nothing to do with policy or philosophy come into play.

Ultimately, winning elections has to do with many factors – including campaign organization, identifying the audiences and reaching them in a compelling way, and having the flexibility and creativity to both plan and be spontaneous with overcoming obstacles when little is under control. Having the Greek chorus of supporters staying on message is but one of those factors. The left has not always been the most organized. And the wave of Republican frustration with the status quo swapped away all resistance in 2016, not just in the complicated and unpredictable presidential campaign but in both houses of Congress.  And yet, progressive values translate through institutionalized learning and control of the agencies through career officials at least, as much if not more than through political victories and legislative advances. There is no quick legislative or executive fix to institutions of higher learning, Hollywood, most mainstream publications and channels, tech giants, professional associations, unions, artistic scenes, innumerable non-profits, and other gatherings with wide reach and ability to influence hearts and minds.

The old stereotype that conservatives all tend to end up in business making money is only partially true. There is no shortage of highly erudite and cultured conservatives of all ages and background. And commitment to culture needs not be full time. Yet, what is ultimately funding of such opportunities is lacking. Gulf States and progressive billionaires endow chairs of universities with gifts that translate into particular type of curriculum, faculty, and even the backgrounds of students who end up being attracted to these fora. There is no shortage of conservative-leaning donors, yet their money goes at best towards think tanks and isolated conservative colleges, as well as equally independent publications. They are not buying stakes in mainstream media empires; endowing universities, or sponsoring production studios, with Clint Eastwood, a well established figure in Hollywood being one of the few noteworthy exception. Separating themselves into conservative spaces may be a good way to stay on message, but not a good away to go on offensive or to promote that message.

Also, staying on message becomes of increasingly limited value if the number of people sharing that message is decreasing over time. If conservatives want to see how well their message survives in the world outside the bubble, they need to first, engage with people who think differently from increasingly minute ideological confines, and second, engage in intellectual contact with the adversary, rather than flee the battlefield at first sign of danger or real challenge. The progressives have not won anything by being shy, deferential, wallflowers. Their strength is not in beating down anyone who even remotely disagrees with the party’s appointed messenger – in fact, that’s what cost them the presidential election in 2016. Rather, it is in promoting and supporting their own. They identify, cultivate, and place young talent by the hundreds. By contrast, conservatives cultivate political activists, but not necessarily pundits, opinionmakers, and ideological influencers. Those are left to their own devices – if someone manages to make it and create his own organization, they are indeed lauded and feted. But who do these young conservative organizations target? Other conservatives. How much effort is spent on questioning progressives, at least those who are open to seeds of doubts, and to the independents? As a result, conservatives seem to always be strengthening their base, but not really growing. Whether it is the Republicans scaring off potential supporters, or idealogues unable or unwilling to make contact with anyone outside the choir, the outcome is the same:

There is no one to stay on message.

Time to rethink our strategy, move away from bickering over differences whether in candidates or approaches, let people be with their opinions and disagreements, and do what the left has indeed has always done best:

Think long-term.

Irina Tsukerman is a human rights and national security lawyer, based in New York. I can send something longer, but then it would go into all the other things I've been involved in and might be too long!

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Democrats

Don’t let the Democrats off the hook for their shutdown

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Dont let the Democrats off the hook for their shutdown

Now that the government shutdown is ending after three days, most of America wants to move on. We should, of course, but we shouldn’t allow the idiocy and hypocrisy of this shutdown to fade with the news cycle. Conservatives and Federalists should hold onto the debacle the Democrats forced and remind people in this election year of one important fact:

Democrats willfully hurt American citizens to gain favor with illegal immigrants and their proponents.

This shutdown was a feint. It had the sole intention of pretending that they’re the party that is fighting for Dreamers. That narrative was on the verge of shifting as most Republicans and the President have signaled they will protect Dreamers through proper legislation. The amnesty they will be passing in February or early March will give as many as 3.2 million Dreamers more protections than they had under President Obama’s executive order.

That’s a narrative the Democrats wanted to steal back from the GOP. That’s why they shutdown the government.

While I don’t support Republicans and their push to strengthen DACA, I definitely oppose Democrats and their desire to flood the country with as many left-leaning voters as possible. Until we can build an alternative to the lesser-of-two-evils system America currently has, we should pick our sides on issues based upon what is best for the nation.

The messaging of the Democrats’ actions should be reiterated regularly going forward and heavily when election season ramps up. The sad part is their actions haven’t helped Dreamers or increased the probability of a legislative DACA fix. All they did was put their stamp on it so they can take more credit with an uninformed electorate.

Remember the Democrats’ lies:

Schumer’s Democrats are using a pile of myths to support his shutdown

http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/370089-schumers-democrats-are-using-a-pile-of-myths-to-support-his-shutdownShutdown fever has officially hit Washington. As Congress struggles to come to an agreement to get the government back to work, Capitol Hill is awash in indignant finger pointing, Twitter posturing and shutdown drink specials for furloughed employees.

Amidst all the breathless reporting and hyperbole, what’s real and what’s fake news is getting harder to distinguish. Here’s a look at what’s actually happening.

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Economy

Kevin Swanson talks about John Maynard Keynes, Father of Keynesian economics

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Kevin Swanson talks about John Maynard Keynes Father of Keynesian economics

I have learned about the term Keynesian economics, ever since Barack Obama held office. Make no mistake, Obama was and still is a believer in Keynesian economics. He increased the Debt/GDP ratio by 28 percent. He is the top Keynesian president of all time. More so than FDR, Nixon, Bush 41 (fourth place) and 43 (he is the runner-up Keynesian to Obama), and even if Reagan was a statesman in many areas, he did follow many ideas of Keynes (he takes third place).

We can only hope that Reagan took heed of the ideals of Milton Friedman as well in his lifetime and while he was in office. We just wished he would have listened to Friedman more. It seemed that Jimmy Carter, Gerard Ford, and Bill Clinton were actually trying to take on the debt and actually pay it off, according to Swanson’s research on Keynesian economics.

It should also be pointed out that John Maynard Keynes while raised in a Christian environment, would rebel against the Christian faith at a very young and could not be humbled at all. Either that or the church could not or was not equipped to give a biblical account to the young Keynes, and he was able to call their bluff. His economic system was built on the idea that debts were a good thing at the expense of future generations. Keynes would not have children of his own (his eventual wife Lydia Lopokova, did have a miscarriage) and before he took a wife his romantic interests were mostly in men.

The January 12, 2018, Generations podcast with Kevin Swanson takes on the economic philosophies as well as the cultural philosophies of Keynes and how they both bankrupted our world.

Reference

World Economy Teetering on Disaster

https://www.generations.org/programs/843It took 6,000 years for the world to rack up $80 trillion in debt (by AD 2002).  Sixteen years later, the world had added another $157 trillion (to reach $233 trillion).   Now, the world debt to GWP is 225%. We’ve never been this far into the Keynesian nightmare before.  So on the bring of the biggest economic disaster ever, we take a moment to explain the life, the fruit, and the ethical rebellion and radical, unrestrained homosexuality of John Maynard Keynes. Biblically, this debt is clearly described as a curse, and an indication of God’s judgment on the nations.

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Culture and Religion

Planned Parenthood necessitates rape culture

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Planned Parenthood necessitates rape culture

Often times leftism is very self-fulfilling. Implementing Obamacare as a halfway measure for single payer. Support DACA amnesty so to secure votes for many elections to come. They can even look at countries like Sweden and still support bringing in massive amounts of migrants. Sweden has by all means become the rape capital of the Europe, yet feminists would have us be more like them. They support letting illegal immigrants come in and commit a disproportionate amount of crimes, including rape. Why? Two reasons. The first one being feminism and leftism are essentially the same thing though feminism is more cultural. Just recall last year’s or this years Women’s March. It had more to do with Trump than women’s issues. The second reason is that rape culture advances feminism. Feminism despite its long history has become a leftist front in the third wave. First feminists wanted women to vote. Then they wanted women to work. Both of these succeeded but too often movements don’t end when the battle is won. Now feminists want women to have tax payer funded abortions with no social stigma. And their golden calf is Planned Parenthood.

At a Glance: The Abortion Industry

Systematically detailing how everything Planned Parenthood does is centered around the core competency of it’s nefarious business model is the subject of articles and books that would distract from the message I am getting to. Planned Parenthood does provide other services, but all of their services are designed to develop rapport with at-risk women and give them an abortion when they have an unwanted pregnancy. The National Review analyzed their yearly report, and Alexander Desanctis made this observation:

The report indicates that Planned Parenthood saw 2.4 million clients in the last fiscal year. But, as has been shown by the group’s own figures, it doesn’t provide those clients with very many actual health-care services. According to the report, the only significant services offered, besides abortion, are STI and HIV tests, contraception, and pregnancy tests.

Planned Parenthood is like the crooked mechanic who messes up your car so you keep returning to him. They target at-risk, especially minority at-risk, women, give them contraception which they likely won’t use perfectly resulting in unwanted pregnancies. Note: the pills effectiveness is in the low nineties. Planned Parenthood is the abortion industry, and more people are realizing that the 3% stat they boast is simply a myth as also pointed out by Desanctis.

Small Percentages Matter Most

Public perception is moving in the opposite direction of the Planned Parenthood dystopian dream. A recent poll spells trouble for the pro-abortion crowd. Townhall reported that:

(2) Just 12 percent of Americans support the Democratic Party’s radical abortion platform, which effectively favors restriction-free abortion-on-demand (some left-wing state legislatures have gone even further in their extremism).  Fewer than one-in-four respondents say abortion should be widely legal either throughout pregnancy, or at least through the first two trimesters.

(3) A lopsided majority — 76 percent — believe that legal abortion should be limited to the first trimester, permitted only in very rare circumstances (rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life), or barred entirely.  Support for these pro-life reforms includes 61 percent of Democrats and 78 percent of independents.  And even if you excise the ‘first trimester’ option, fully 50 percent of Americans believe abortion should only be legally allowed in a handful of narrow circumstances, or not at all.

Perceptions of abortion largely due to the efforts of pro-lifers raising the pro-life generation. With a growing anti-abortion sentiments, the pro-abortion arguments are more readily focusing on a tiny fraction of all abortions: health of the mother, rape, and incest. Often times these are the most agreeable grounds for an abortion, though my guess is that incest is thrown in there whether people agree with it or not as the pro-life movement has made gains in outlawing abortion based on special needs. Abortion due to incest, unless rape, is still with the overwhelming majority where a person aborts as “birth control”. There’s also threat to the mother which is highly subjective. Pregnancy affects a woman’s body. This much is obvious. But if a woman got an abortion due to morning sickness, should that really count under “health”? There are also ectopic pregnancies (outside the uterus) which are increasingly treatable, though in theory wouldn’t be born naturally anyway so is that really an artificial miscarriage? Yet these instances are rare and treatable. Otherwise threat to the mother would have a much more specific context. Woman should seek multiple opinions if one doctor recommends an abortion in a life threatening instance, especially as we better know how to treat high risk pregnancies.

So we are mostly left with rape, a fraction of the one percent.

The Pro-Abortion Hill To Die On

The fraction of the one percent has become one of the main focuses of the abortion debate. Stephen Crowder does a segment on his show called “Real Conversations” where he talks to regular people. He presents his viewpoint and challenges people to change his mind. In his second addition of “I’m Pro-Life: Change My Mind” every serious contender digs in at the subject of rape. Note: the person supporting partial birth abortion was not a serious contender seeing as she compared abortion to a c-section. It is this small percentage that makes people consider themselves “pro-choice”. But as Stephen Crowder rightly pointed out, being pro-life is pro choice. There are four choices: abstinence, motherhood, adoption, and contraception. We in the pro-life camp just don’t want killing babies to be one of the options. Planned Parenthood on the other hand is not very pro-choice seeing as they perform 83 abortions for every adoption referral, according to their own report.

A Symbiotic Relationship

Bernie Sanders once said that if men could have abortions, the issue would have been settled a long time ago. Better yet, if people didn’t rape, the abortion would be settled by now. Can you imagine how unsympathetic pro-abortion arguments would be if we achieved a rape-free society?

In nature, there are many instances of symbiont-host relationships. In mutualism both parties benefit. This would be like bacteria in our own bodies that helps us digest food. Then there is commensalism where only the symbiont benefits. This would be like the pilot fish to a shark. In order for Planned Parenthood, and by extension the pro-abortion argument, to stay its ground or even regain ground, it need a rape culture in America. A rape culture would accomplish two things vital to the movement. The first is the obvious unwanted pregnancies. Not every woman gets raped. Now not everyone who gets raped, gets pregnant. And not everyone who gets pregnant from rape chooses an abortion. This is a very segmented market (I’m speaking in business terms because that’s what PP is). More rapes, more abortions due to rape which would be good for Planned Parenthood. They already want to hide the fraction of 1% of abortion that is due to rape. The second benefit to Planned Parenthood rape culture would render is disempowered women. Planned Parenthood pretends to be the voice for women’s rights. A rape culture would, in practice, harm gender equality. Planned Parenthood’s waning influence on women necessitates women who need them to speak for them.

Meanwhile feminists are trying to create the idea that we have a rape culture in America. In truth we don’t. If you want to see a rape culture go to a country that doesn’t give women equal testimony in court, so an Islamic country. That’s an actual rape culture. Instead feminists would rather tout international crime data which puts the US around the top without any consideration for countries that don’t consider women equal therefore the rape convicted is highly misleading. The US pales in comparison to an actual rape culture.

Enter MeToo

Perhaps it’s not the end game, but Hollywood is pressing for our society to change the definition of consent. The term “enthusiastic” is thrown in their definition. Now this isn’t Hollywood’s creation. I recall talking to a liberal colleague of mine who lightly refers to today as sort of a “Age of Consent” where consent matters more now than say a generation ago. But this is likely some crap out of an anthropology class. In other words, Hollywood and feminists via Twitter will argue that society needs consent training to go with it’s hookup culture. For instance, nothing Aziz Ansari did was legally rape or sexual assault, but because his accuser regretted it, this new definition of rape the left is trying to craft would consider this an offense. Ansari wasn’t acting deviant from a hookup cultural perspective. If society changes the definition of sexual assault far from what the legal definition is, more people would have been “assaulted or harassed.” The result of more women being convinced they have been sexually assaulted or harassed is a divide between the two genders.

The End is Nigh

If Planned Parenthood can’t have the rape culture they need, they will likely have to settle for the pseudo-rape culture feminists are trying to convince us we have. In the short term, it’s great for donations which the abortion cartel was not short on during year one of Trump. But in the end, it’s sort of like how Voldemort was drinking unicorn blood in the Sorcerer’s Stone. Pro-life is making gains and could ban abortion after twenty weeks on a national level with new legislation. And who knows, by the time such a law is challenged in the Supreme Court there may be a fourth conservative judge sitting among the nine. And what if the GOP actually defunds Planned Parenthood at a federal level like they have been on a growing state level. The future doesn’t look bright for Planned Parenthood. Their government money is under siege, and once the siege is broken it will be politically unlikely for them to recover. And while were fielding political unlikelihoods, the Democrats could change their tune on abortion because they need to win seats. Pro-life victories are sure to come especially when the (likely also) pro-life Gen Z will start voting to make things worse for the pro-abortion movement. Such are the times for the lingering abortion giant.

 

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